Warm, melted mozzarella cheese. Tangy, fresh tomato sauce. Crisp, buttery cracker. You’re on board, right? At least tell me the cleverly invented name makes sense…it’s like a s’more and a slice of pizza made sweet, sweet love by a campfire.
I’ve wanted to make a savory s’more for a while now. I must admit, the initial ingenious idea is not my own. I’m fairly certain I came across a similar concept in Everyday with Rachael Ray over the summer. I instantly fell in love. You take the basic elements of a sweet and sticky s’more and translate them to a savory palate, in this case, pizza. What’s not to love?
Obviously, a key element here is a fire source. I’m a s’more traditionalist — open flame required. Don’t give me any of that ‘you can make them just as well in a microwave’ crap. You can’t. Go outside. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to spend a magical day tailgating at a University of Michigan football game, which, I’m told, is one of the largest athletic gatherings you can possibly attend. Considering that it was freezing and we were the only ones with such an abundant source of warmth, we made a lot of new friends. And once they caught a glimpse of what we were roasting over said flames, they became our new best friends.
Ideally you want to find mozzarella that’s already been formed into little bite-sized balls. At least that’s what I had in mind. But our late night run to Kroger (Kroger! God I’ve missed the Midwest) yielded a slim selection at the cheese counter. I settled instead upon a large hunk of soft white mozz that had been braided into a twisty knot. The braid made for easily detachable smaller pieces of cheese — perfect for skewering and roasting. This cheese also had the added benefit of an herby marinade which made for extra deliciousness. We all have our preferred level of doneness when it comes to marshmallows, and the same strategy applies to roasting a ball of mozzarella. You can be the guy who waits for it to catch completely on fire, resembling a drunk monkey as you try to put it out by waving the stick madly in the air, only to end up with a charred nugget of blackness. Or you can be the dainty flame-hoverer, spending ages trying to obtain the perfect golden-brown consistency. Your call. But you’re going for a nice melty consistency on the inside of the cheese and a roasted texture on the outside.
So once you’ve got your mozzarella cheese subbing in for the marshmallow, you need something to stick it all together. That’s where the marinara comes in. A general time crunch and the fact the final products would be gobbled up by inebriated boys allowed me to just grab a jar of basic sauce and call it a day. But there is a lot of potential for fanciness here — pesto, homemade sauces, tapenade, chutney — anything sauce-like or sticky makes a perfect replacement for the slab of Hershey’s found in a traditional s’more.
And last, but not least, the outer layers. You want something sturdy enough to support the heft of the cheese and messiness of the sauce. I went with basic, wide, buttery appetizer crackers that were the spitting image of their sweet counterparts, the graham cracker. However, on a second attempt I would go with something a little stronger like a melba toast or crispy flat bread. The possibilities are literally endless. I’m sure you could even come up with s’more of your own. Ha.